Some of you may know that there has been blogging trouble brewing on southern part of Australia, as the government there shut down a potentially innovative and certainly exciting blogging adventure called The MiniLegends. The teacher, Al Upton, had his students create blogs and then asked for other educators in the world to server as “virtual mentors” to his students, following their progress in school via the blogs.
The government shut down the project on fears that the blogging mentoring concept exposed students to possible dangers, although Al had a pretty comprehensive document for parents to read and sign off on beforehand.
This morning, I was reading through the many (more than 100) comments at Al’s blog and I was pleased to see the students voicing their own sadness, frustration and outrage over the situation as it now stands (Al is trying to reverse the decision). I think it is vital that we hear the voices of the students in any of these matters.
I looked for my (former) mentee, Sam, but many of the students did not sign their names. I will assume he is there in the mix, somewhere. (Although Sam’s blog is closed, I am hoping by linking with a trackback, he will at least know that I am supporting him and hoping him the best. It’s a silent blogging protest in support of the kids)
Here are some of the thoughts of the MiniLegends (in the interest of not wanting to embarrass any students, I did a little editing cleanup here and there):
I was almost in tears when I heard my blog was shut-down. I was so sad and disappointed. I really enjoyed blogging. I absolutely loved my cluster-map. I sometimes might say all that work was for nothing. The vokis are cool. I start thinking that we wouldn’t be able to talk to our mentors. It used to be fun. Cheers. — Mini17
When I first heard my blog was shut down I felt sad,upset and worried about my blog and what would happen to my blog. How I can’t look at my comment’s and how I can’t look at other people’s blog’s. And how I can’t see my cluster map.The best is the communicating with people I don’t know. I get friend’s. You can put on pictures and posters. I learn faster on the computer’s and blogs. Our new form is called Article 13. I love blogging. — Mini14
When I found out that our blogs were closing down, I felt confused, sad and angry. I felt really sad because I felt that all Al had taught us had gone to waste. We had a vote on a name for our new forum. The new name for our forum is Article 13. It means Rights for the Child.I felt better with my blog in many ways. — Mini22
When I heard that the blog was closed, I was sad because the blog was like everything in my life . But now it is closed so we just have to do something that is like the blog . The blog was great and fun. I loved my blog. It was like my home. — Mini2
Perhaps the days ahead will bring some progress.
Peace (in action),
I am by no means converted to the idea that wholesale blogging contributes heavily to the learning experience we want for all kids. Personally, it seems wide open to distraction. Worse, the idea that curriculum may be surrendered even more to someone from a country with en even more distant value system….
That said, I cannot imagine the Ohio D.E. stepping in to shut down a teacher’s blog project.
Oh, yeah, that’s just the kind of value I want kids here to learn to embrace..local control, not state nannyism.